The Science Wonk

The headlines this summer have been marred by one disturbing theme: an attack on diversity in the United States.

Students participate in March for Science in Washington, DC.

On a rainy Saturday in Washington DC, I joined 40,000 scientists from all academic disciplines gathered to March for Science. This was one of over 600 satellite marches across the world spanning all seven continents. The marches drew hundreds of thousands of people out to make our voices heard. We marched to end the use of “alternative facts.” We marched to encourage diversity in science. We marched to display the importance of immigrants to the scientific community. And most prominently, we marched for the future of science.

UCSF students rally in Washington DC in front of the White House during the March for Science gathering.

“Is the March for Science political?” my friend asked me a week before the march. “Why are you doing it?” I thought about these two questions leading up to the UCSF Stand Up for Science Rally and March for Science, which I participated in along with hundreds of UCSF students, postdocs, faculty, staff and community.

Women are notoriously underrepresented in the world of politics.

​With the advent of CRISPR technology, editing human genomes is no longer the stuff of science fiction. But Hank Greely, a Stanford law professor and bioethicist, isn’t too concerned: “I don’t think it’s very important, I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but I don’t care about it even if it does,” he remarked (perhaps with a bit of tongue in his cheek), speaking at UCSF in January.

If you were to ride the D.C. metro the morning after the election, you would have been overwhelmed with a tense, eerie silence that pervaded the mood of the town.

This type of distress and strong emotion permeated throughout the country.

As a member of the Science Policy Group, people frequently ask me what science policy entails.